The Lure of Virtual Donuts (study)

“There appears to be a lack of research on the influence of virtual foods in IVEs [immersive virtual environments] on human satiation.”

Prompting a joint research project from Stanford University (US) and Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) to cater for this academic lacuna with a virtual donut [ that’s doughnut UK ].

Their experiments, which employed, amongst other things, a cotton bud dipped in chocolate-donut scented aromatic oil and a fake rubber donut, were able to demonstrate that :

“ […] participants in the touch and scent present conditions ate significantly fewer donuts than those who were not exposed to these cues. However, we are cautious in interpreting these results, since the main finding of donuts eaten was found only when outliers were excluded. Whether the people who ate all the donuts did so because they were extremely hungry, or because donuts are their favorite food, is unclear.”

See: ‘Exploring the Influence of Haptic and Olfactory Cues of a Virtual Donut on Satiation and Eating Behavior’ in the journal Presence, Vol. 26, No. 3, Summer 2017, 337–354